In our post “Why content marketing matters” last week, we wrote about how content marketing is allowing marketers to cut through the noise generated by competitors by appealing to their needs and leveraging the social media connections of readers who feel helped.
We pointed out that the idea of content marketing is really about the creation and sharing of content that “hooks” a reader and eventually turn these prospects into customers--and is an area that businesses are increasingly looking into.
Yet what are some steps that they can take in order to successfully leverage it in order to better establish their brand? We outline three tips below that should help you to embark on this journey.
The transition to a content brand will take time
“The transition to a content brand involves a cultural shift in the marketing organization, from pushing product-centric messages at customers to pulling them in with valuable and useful content,” wrote Ryan Skinner, senior analyst at Forrester Research in a recent report titled “Crack the content marketing code in five easy steps”.
As we know, changing culture isn’t something that one can do with the push of a button. Instead, there will be detractors, naysayers, or colleagues or executives who may not be entirely convinced of the new content-oriented approach. Where possible, talk to them, understand their concerns, and find ways to address or at least alleviate these concerns.
Establish your short-term goals
According to Skinner, marketing leaders must start with clear and commonly accepted short- term objectives that include greater visibility for brand messages through customers’ opt-in channels. Specifically, a short list of key topics or areas could be identified and efforts made to start getting the brand associated with these topics.
This could include the use of both unpaid channels such as organic search and word-of-mouth sharing, as well as paid channels. The latter could entail placing ads with search engines or social platforms, though only as a temporary aid for organic search and word-of-mouth efforts to bear fruit.
And while there is certainly a need to measure and benchmark user engagement as in order to measure the success of a content marketing initiative, it is worth noting that some types of engagement may not lend themselves well as an objective.
The aggregate time spent on-site, noted Skinner, can reflect both interest in the content and a frustrating user experience. With this in mind, marketers should only use a particular engagement metric as an objective only when they correspond to intimacy or influence.
Set the stage for the long term
Ultimately, the content creation journey isn’t about putting out a dozen blogs or LinkedIn posts--and then calling it a day. Marketing leaders need to find ways to continuingly source out fresh content in the most efficient manner.
This will necessitate them to search broadly through multiple channels that may range from the use of repurposed archive content, user-generated content, curated content, or even tapping into influencers.
Finally, when it comes to rolling out the content, there is also a need to plan them in a way that content assets can be quickly repurposed or redistributed to benefit specific campaigns, as well as partners, sites, and the channel. This will go a long way towards maximizing the value that can be gleaned from the creation of the content.